Thursday, June 28, 2012

Camping and a Few of my Favorite Links

I am having a wonderful time at camp this week! I’m volunteering as the camp nurse at His Kids Camp, a camp for special needs kids at Camp Luther. I haven’t even been her for 24 hours and have already been touched by the kids, their buddies (each camper is paired with a buddy or two to help with activities, meals, etc.) and the other volunteers and staff members.

I’ll write a full post about His Kids Camp next week but for today I’m going to list some of my favorite websites. It’s a diverse group, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as I do. When I update my blogs I’ll be suggesting new links, so please let me know what your favorite links are, either in the comments or in an e-mail to

First of all, His Kids Camp. Click here for more informationabout the camp. If you know a special needs camper, or would like to be a buddy or volunteer, please contact Josh or Christina—contact information is on the website.

If you’re like me and you really don’t like to do housework, check out the Fly Lady at You’ll find hundreds of tips on clearing the clutter, organizing your home, and keeping it clean. She also discusses the emotional aspects of clutter and getting rid of clutter. On one page she says, Our FlyLady system is all about establishing little habits that string together into simple routines to help your day run on automatic pilot.” I don’t use every single part of her system, but I’ve found enough great information to make it worthwhile.

I am so thankful for the pastors that have been a part of my life. We don’t see the many, many hours they devote to shepherding their flocks of church members; they’re part of some of our happiest and saddest moments on earth. Today I came across a great article that reminded me to thank our pastors (priests and other church leaders). Read “What Our Pastors Wish we Knew” and encourage your pastor today!

For pro-life news that you probably won’t get elsewhere, go to LifeNews covers the topics of abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, bioethic issues like human cloning and stem cell research, and campaigns and elections and legal and legislative issues.

One of the best books I’ve read recently is “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. The book documents her year of “Test driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons of popular culture about how to be happier.”
I’m happy in my life—don’t get me wrong! And Gretchen was happy in her life, too. She wanted to make sure she felt grateful every single day, in the ordinary things. She wanted to look past the little things that bugged her, to the bigger picture. She wanted to set a higher standard for herself in all of her roles—as mother, daughter, writer, and so on.

“The Happiness Project” will inspire and motivate you to consider what you can do to make your life a little happier. The website is full of great information to help you design your own happiness project. I have used many of Rubin’s hints and tips and some of her downloads. I also get her monthly newsletter. This is a book and site like The Flylady; you probably won’t use everything you read, but you’ll find enough useful information to make it worthwhile!

Please let me know what you think of my suggestions, and don’t forget to share your own favorite links! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

“And He will give His Angels Charge Over You”…in a Burning Tractor

by Shelly Burke

from Google Images
I ask God to protect my loved ones every morning. Unless they are traveling, it’s usually a general prayer, something along the lines of, “Please keep them safe in everything they do today.”

I said that prayer, as always, one morning last week.

A few hours later, Tim sent me the picture below. He had been driving the tractor to fill in a hole in the road and noticed it was overheating. He drove it off the road (thankfully not near any grass as it’s VERY dry here), got out to open the hood and see if he could tell what was wrong, and saw smoke, and then flames.

Thankfully he’d grabbed his cell phone when he got out, so was able to call 911 immediately. It took the fire trucks about 20 minutes to arrive, and by that time the tractor was a complete loss.

Tim sent the picture to my cell phone, and I didn’t realize how serious the situation was until I sent it to my e-mail (I still have a non-smart phone with a tiny screen!). When I saw how completely the tractor was destroyed, I sat down and took a deep breath. The situation could have been tragic had Tim not gotten out when he did…had he not parked the tractor away from anything flammable…had not God’s angels been watching over him.

I said a heartfelt prayer of thanks—thanks that God protected my husband, and thanks that I don’t have to list every possible situation in which my family might need protection.  .  

“And He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep the in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thee dash thy foot against a stone” (or burning tractor).
Psalm 91: 11-12

Thank You, Lord, for protecting my family, and especially for protecting Tim last week.  THANK YOU for giving your angels charge over those I love. Please guard everyone I love from every danger of body, mind or soul. Amen. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Teach Your Children Well

By Shelly Burke, Author, Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom's Guide 

(from Google Images)
As a Christian parent, your greatest task is to bring your children up believing in God and teaching them about Him, His Word and how they can live God-pleasing lives.

How can we as parents make sure that our children know the Lord? How can we instill in them the desire for faith and the desire to live a God-pleasing life?

In Deuteronomy 6 Moses says these words to the Israelites, shortly after receiving the Ten Commandments. “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:6-9)

In other words, we infuse these beliefs in our children by making them a central, integral part of our lives and theirs. I’ve edited the above verses to reflect the reality of life in 2012: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts—in the midst of busy schedules, make time for ME first. Your most important job as a parent is not to make sure your kids are in the most activities, or are the “best” at anything they are involved in. Your job is to impress My commandments on your children so that they will follow them all the days of their lives.

Talk about Me when you are driving your kids to school or activities. Sing Christian songs or memorize Bible verses when you’re in the car. Say prayers with them before they go to bed, and talk about the day’s events. When did they feel My presence? When they bring up a difficult situation, listen…and ask them what I would do. When they wake up, remind them that I will be with them throughout the day and ask them how they will show My love to their friends.

Send them text messages on the cell phone that seems to be tied to their hands. Text them Bible verses of encouragement. Tell them you’ve prayed for them before a test. Load Christian music on the iPod or MP3 player that seems to be attached to their head.  

Write Bible verses on notecards and tape them to the mirror in the bathroom, to their bedroom door, the refrigerator, the dashboard of their car.

No matter the age of your children, take every chance to fill them with God’s Word and His love and instructions. As they get older they will be more and more influenced by others. Cody will enter his junior year and Morgan her freshman year of college in the fall. Tim and I won’t have the day-to-day contact with them that we do now. They’ll be exposed to many different people with different beliefs and opinions, probably including some that will contradict their Christian upbringing.

I thank God that both of our children were brought up in the church, and I pray every day that they will remember their Christian background and that God will put Christian friends in their paths.

Also from Deuteronomy: “Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong you days…” (Deut. 5:33)

Dear Lord, please help me to remember that teaching our children about You is the most important thing we can do as parents. Please help us to put that task above all the other things that seem so urgent and important. Please remind us that there are many, many teachable moments every single day; help us to take advantage of all of those moments, so that our children will grow up knowing You and Your will and Your Love. Amen.

I’m also the editor of a Christian newspaper, the Nebraska Family Times
                               Read my blog entry today, titled “Do Not Lose Heart.”             

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

School Schedules and Shots, or...The More Things Change...

School Schedules and Shots, or... The More Things Change...

By Shelly Burke, Editor and Publisher, Nebraska Family Times

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

This summer I’ve been thinking of all the things that will change in just a few months, when Morgan goes to college. This week, however, I got to do a few things just one more time.

Morgan set up her first semester schedule with her advisor on Monday. (She got to do it over the phone since we live so far away, so she didn’t get to experience the “fun” of long lines and finding out classes were full.) It was fun to see her excitement at her new schedule and hear about the classes she will be taking. She wishes more of her classes would be in the morning and isn’t thrilled with her math class, but overall is very excited to start in the fall. This reminded me of her excitement (and sometimes the disappointment) after the first day of school during grade school and high school. 

I also set up an appointment for her to get her meningitis shot before she leaves. (This vaccination is for a certain strain of bacterial meningitis that usually occurs where many people live together—like college dorms—and is often very serious and even deadly.) This also reminded me of the many other times I scheduled shots for her—while she was a baby, before kindergarten, before 7th grade, and now before college. I felt like a “mean mom” when I took either child in for shots—they were usually happy and as babies, unsuspecting of what was going to take place.

Morgan, however, is not the least bit nervous about this shot…I will be there to hold her hand if she wants me to though.

I wonder if she’ll let me go shopping for school supplies with her? I’ll be sure to pick out a big box of crayons!